Security Cordon Techniques For The Incident Site.


Security cordon uses to control the incident site and provides important situation awareness of what is happening in the site.

What’s the meaning of cordon?

Police, military, or security guard lines or circles that block access of the people to the incident site.

What are the basic principles of the cordon off?

There are the 4 basic principles of the cordon off, generally known as the “4C”.  The polices, military, or the security staff use these principles for sealing the incident site from access of the general public.

  1. Confirm
  2. Clear
  3. Cordon
  4. Control

Depending on the incident it may require the inner and outer cordon to maintain the level of access. For example;

  • If Large fires where support crews require access to the site, but only firefighters move into the inner cordon
  • I Explosive device disposal sites where law enforcement and security staff operate within the site, but only the technicians operate within the inner cordon.

How to establish security cordon?

Before you establish the cordon the purpose of the cordon should determine. Here are some questions to give answers before establishing the cordon on the site?

  • What is access being restricted from?
  • How much distance is required from that item or area?
  • How many Staff are needed to effectively control access?
  • Where is the incident site command post going to be located?
  • Are physical barriers and markings going to be required?

Implementation of the 4C

  1. Confirm the presence of a threat or risk
    • Confirm by visual inspection
    • Or confirm over the radio
    • May be confirmed by other witnesses or observers
  2. Clear the area
    • Direct all personnel out of the area
    • Check the immediate area need to occupy for any security and safety threat.
  3. Cordon the incident site
    • Place barriers or tape
    • Maintain intersecting lines of visibility with other Security staff
    • Conduct radio checks with the incident site command post
    • Verify positions held on the cordon line. Establish the new radio signal if needed.
  4. Control access
    • Prevent unauthorized access to the site
    • Maintain the record of the person who accesses and exits from the site.

Maintaining a Security cordon

When the cordon has placed the security staff should maintain the integrity of the cordon. These following things should consider;

  1. Duty post-rotation
    • Increases vigilance and attention to detail
    • Prevents boredom during long incidents
  2. Passage of information
    • Alert all Security staff if personnel are passing into or out of the security cordon
    • Provide situational awareness to the control room
    • Situation updates sent to the incident site commander
  3. Sustainment of the cordon
    • Refreshments for Security staff on duty
    • Relief in place by incoming shift staff

Collapsing a Security cordon

When the incident is resolved and the area is safe to re-enter, the cordon needs to collapse. The security manager or the incident commander may direct to dismantle. The security staff who are responsible for cordoning the area should

  • Acknowledge the cordon collapse via radio
  • Retrieve any barriers or tape that were used
  • Move to the required duty location
  • Report repositioning to the control room
  • Await instructions to contribute to a post-incident debriefing with the incident site commander
    • Replace the security staff for attending the briefing.
    • Bring the incident report or notes that have taken to the debriefing.
  • Resume normal security operations

Monitoring and reporting ongoing situations

When you’re in the incident site you may need to provide the ongoing situation information to the control room or emergency services such as police or fire brigade. Before providing the information you should keep in mind;

  • Keep radio communication brief and to the point
  • The report only changes to the previous situation e.g.
    • Personnel locations
    • Suspect or offender locations
    • Behavior or activities
    • Changes to the risk or threat levels
    • Any other significant updates

Cooperation with emergency services

The security staff always have close cooperation with the emergency services provider such as police, firefighters, and paramedics.

It is very important that security staff should aware of the role that the emergency service provider provides and be prepared for their arrival.


  • Securing any evidence on site
  • Preparing accurate incident notes
  • Preparing recorded evidence e.g. CCTV footage, photos, etc.
  • Segregating witnesses, offenders, and suspects
  • Clearing routes and parking space for arriving police vehicles


  • Preparing maps or diagrams of the source of fire within a building
  • Clearing routes to hydrants, breeching inlets and stairwells
  • Maintaining public order at the site or building


  • Recording casualty conditions including
    • Circumstances of medical incident
    • Medical history
    • Treatments are given during first aid
  • Clearing routes to the incident site

How to deal with emergency services?

  • Provide as much detail as possible
  • Record details of attending emergency staff including:
    • Names
    • ID
    • Contact numbers
    • Branch or office
  • Obtain a receipt for any materials or evidence provided to police

Conclusion: The security staff should aware of the basic principles of the security cordon. The communication with the control room and emergency services must keep open all the time. Make sure that you are following the instruction of the site commander rather than using your own judgment. Know the expected emergency services and make your site easy for accessing them.

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